HOW IMPORTANT IS TRAVELLING TO YOU?
Very. I get restless ?if I haven’t had a trip for a while. ?I travel so much for work that it feels weird if I haven’t packed a case for a few weeks. I do think my job helps to satisfy my wanderlust. This summer I was covering the World Cup in Brazil and then next month [August 2014] I have the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. I don’t always get to see a lot of the countries I’m visiting, but sometimes I get lucky and, on certain trips, part of the job is getting out and exploring the place. But because I travel for work, I often just want to stay at home, or go and stay at our farm in Scotland instead of going abroad.
Up until recently, we hadn’t had a foreign family holiday for about a year and a half. Fortunately, my children (twins Lois and Reuben, eight) are now old enough to do city breaks. When they are little you can’t expect to trawl them through galleries and museums, but these days I can dip them into a bit of culture as well.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST HOLIDAY AS A CHILD?
When I was five, we went to Florida and New York. My parents weren’t savers and always splashed the cash on holidays. ?It was in the late 1970s, so to go to America seemed the most exotic thing.
I remember after boarding, walking down the aisle on the plane with my brother and sister and the excitement I felt. We stayed in a motel, and even that was thrilling.
WHERE DO YOU TRAVEL WITH YOUR KIDS?
We have been to some wonderful places: The Banyan Tree in Phuket and the Four Seasons Hotel in Chiang Mai, both in Thailand, The Residence in Mauritius and LA a few times. We tend to go on long-haul holidays at Easter rather than the summer as I am often working during those months.
The second time we all went to South Africa as a family, I was covering the World Cup. The kids went on safari with my husband [ex-Scotland rugby player Kenny Logan] and they loved that. I was covering an England game and they were ringing and saying, ‘It’s a shame you’re not here, Mummy – it’s amazing!’
We tend to stay at hotels and resorts. The kids need to socialise and play and it’s important for them to meet other children and have a range of activities. Their fun is always a factor. Even if it means hanging out at the pool all day.
WHAT WAS YOUR WORST HOLIDAY?
A trip to Cyprus. The hotel wasn’t on a great part of the island, the rooms were below standard and the restaurants were disappointing. All the details that make it a perfect holiday were missing. But the kids didn’t notice anything. It was a fantastic trip for them, but Kenny and I didn’t have a very nice time and felt cheated.
A friend had persuaded me to book through a company, which I shouldn’t have done because I usually do all the bookings myself. While I do like taking risks in certain respects, equally, I don’t want to waste a 10-day break.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE HOTEL?
The Finca Cortesin in Malaga in Spain. We’ve been there a couple of times as a family and we all love it. It’s in quite an isolated, stunning setting up in the hills, yet about 10 minutes away from the bustle of Estepona. The rooms are chic and immaculate, the decor is beautiful and the food is just amazing. They have?a great pool for kids – if there are other children and it’s sunny, my two are happy.
WHAT ITEMS DO YOU NEVER TRAVEL WITHOUT ON A FAMILY HOLIDAY??
Our trips tend to be to sunshine destinations, so I always pack flip-flops, swimwear, goggles and chargers for phones and iPads. I don’t just throw items in a bag. I’m good at packing. I plan outfits, and always make sure I have various clothing permutations. I try and make lists and be efficient as it’s so boring to go shopping when you’re on holiday. We’ve been to California a few times at Easter and you have to bear in mind that you have a whole range of seasons in a day, so I take layers for the kids.
ANY TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL FAMILY HOLIDAY?
Cater for everyone’s needs. Each family member needs to get something out of the holiday. I always turn off my phone in the daytime and keep it in my room, especially when I’m with the kids. I may check it in the evening in case there’s anything urgent happening at home, but holidays are a chance to unwind and I like to give my family my full attention. It’s my main aim of a holiday.